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Alex Baer: Penny Wise and Million-dollar Foolish

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Judy GarlandConsider the plight of aging garments separated into heaps:  this one for fixes, this one for donation, this one for auction in Beverly Hills...

The signature dress worn by Judy Garland in the film, The Wizard of Oz, has been auctioned, bringing $480,000.  If that raises an eyebrow, consider this:  A similar dress, worn only in tests, last year brought almost twice that -- $910,000.

How are your eyebrows now?  Still holding up OK?  Think they might un-arch and relax by New Year's?  The explanation raised for the price difference is that only a couple test dresses were made, while there were at least seven made for use in the film.

One need be mindful we're likely talking bidders here who have exceptionally high requirements in the first place, to shell out that kind of loot on a 73-year-old dress -- and even higher, to differentiate between a test and a real dress.  In any event, the name of the buyer has not been revealed.

For those of us not able to afford the high-ticket items, some of us could have bid on a piece of Prince William's and Kate Middleton's long-stale, 2011 wedding cake -- a real bargain, at only $1,375.  Not quite Let them eat wedding cake, but pretty close, as exclusivity goes.  Also featured was an even older royal wedding slice, from 1981, from Prince Charles and Princess Diana, bringing the same amount.

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